Sunday, July 26, 2009

Woolsey Advocates Microgrids for Energy Security and Survivability, but is Storage Tech Ready?

This account of a recent appearance by Green Hawk and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey sounds good. His messages about lessening dependence on oil and coal appeal to everyone, except for maybe those whose livelihoods depend on those products.

In this and other blogs I've noted the advantages of microgrids that can be run independently of the larger grid infrastructure when necessary, isolating themselves to keep electrons flowing when their users would otherwise experience brown outs or black outs. For DOD, this would help solve the Defense Science Board (DSB)-identified challenge of bases' reliance on the brittle national grid. For the US, if deployed widely in many if not most communities, it would greatly curtail the threat of large, regional power-loss events.

Here's Woolsey on the topic:
Microgrids, which include their own backup storage systems and generation resources and can island themselves from the grid, enable organizations or homeowners to keep vital services going in the event of grid outages caused by accidents or terrorist activities.
Maybe his words were taken out of context, but it sounds like, according to Woolsey, storage is ready to go for this application. I'd like to hear much more about energy storage systems, high tech (fly wheels, advanced batteries, hydrogen, etc.) and low tech (proven batteries, pumping water up-hill, compressed air, etc.) being ready for prime time microgrid use at scales that matter. Here's the article I'm referencing. What do you think?

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